NASSAU, The Bahamas, Feb. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Baha Mar, the $3.5 billion resort enclave rising in the Bahamian Riviera, celebrated its midway completion point yesterday with a "Roots and Wings" themed topping-off celebration. The festivities, held inside the active construction site, marked completion of the final level – the 25th floor – of The Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, the iconic, tallest structure at the 1,000-acre resort. Central to the arts-inspired topping-off event were announcements of the creation of Believe, Baha Mar's philanthropic foundation, and a new design partnership with Bahamian multi-platinum Grammy-award winning performing artist, actor, and designer Lenny Kravitz. Baha Mar also announced it will partner with luxury spa operator ESPA, and unveiled a formal cultural alliance with The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB).
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The Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, Prime Minister of The Bahamas, who delivered an address at the event, joined Sarkis Izmirlian, Baha Mar Chairman and CEO, in signing a commemorative tree painting, which was created by Bahamian artists during the early part of the celebration. The painting later was affixed to the top floor of The Baha Mar Casino & Hotel in an artistic twist on the conventional placing-of-a-tree topping-off tradition.
"Today's celebration is about so much more than a topping off," said Izmirlian. "The 'Roots and Wings' theme, which was inspired by works at the national gallery, truly personifies the Baha Mar story. Baha Mar is at its core about The Bahamas. By creating a Bahamian art gallery in our convention center and public spaces and including the unique designs of our own Lenny Kravitz in our grandest villa and nightclub, we are leveraging world-class, authentic Bahamian elements to create a resort experience like no other in the world. With today's milestone, Baha Mar is taking flight, ready to become the must-visit destination of this generation."
The Bahamas National Youth Choir gave a special performance of March On, Bahamaland, the national anthem of The Bahamas, as part the official topping off moment. Guests then thrilled to a fireworks spectacle choreographed to Lenny Kravitz's emblematic songs, Are You Gonna Go My Way and Fly Away.
"I grew up spending a good deal of my childhood in the Bahamas with my Bahamian family, and today, I still have a house and recording studio there. It has always been one of my favorite places in the world, and I am excited about our involvement with this great project at Baha Mar," said Lenny Kravitz. "This is the first commercial project for Kravitz Design in the Bahamas and I'm really looking forward to lending our unique flavor to the design of both the nightclub and luxury villa."
Through an innovative alliance with Baha Mar, The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas (NAGB) will curate art works on loan from their significant collections as well as works from the prestigious D'Aguilar Art Foundation and the private Dawn Davies collection. Works will be displayed throughout common areas of the Baha Mar resort and in unique gallery spaces in the Baha Mar Convention Center. NAGB Director Amanda Coulson and Bahamian contemporary mixed-media artist John Cox were on-hand to celebrate the partnership and its potential to create ground-breaking cultural events at Baha Mar.
Additionally, Baha Mar announced that internationally renowned, ESPA, a British company that currently operates more than 350 exclusive spas in 55 countries, will operate Baha Mar's destination spa. The company is well known for its philosophy of creating unique spa experiences that reflect the culture and geography of the destination.
The topping-off event also was a celebration of Baha Mar's positive impact on the community since breaking ground in February 2011. To-date, Baha Mar has engaged close to 400 locally owned construction and contracting firms and has focused on developing Bahamian professionals to help build an authentic Bahamian experience from the inside out. The new team members have played an instrumental role in shaping the unique Baha Mar culture and are now known as the "Dream Team."
"Our Dream Team is an extraordinary collection of talent that is helping to create the world's best resort. To honor their spirit and dedication, we have created BELIEVE, the Baha Mar Foundation, to give every team member a chance to shape the impact of Baha Mar's philanthropic efforts and have a say in the future of their community," said Izmirlian.
The foundation will focus on the guiding principles of "Community, Culture and Conservation." Baha Mar announced a commitment to raise $1 million before its opening date in December 2014.
This philanthropic commitment to The Bahamas complements Baha Mar's positive economic impact on the island nation, which includes a projected 8,000 permanent jobs, in addition to nearly 4,000 construction jobs. Other benefits include future increases in visitor spending and increased airlift – estimated to add $11.2 million to the country's GDP over a 20-year period.
Baha Mar, on schedule to open in December 2014, is set on 3,000 feet of white-sand beach just 12 minutes from Nassau's newly expanded Lynden Pindling International Airport. The resort will feature an elite collection of hotel brands with gaming, entertainment, shopping and natural attractions that reflect an authentic Bahamian experience. The Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, with 1,000 rooms, is the centerpiece of the resort, and includes a 100,000-square-foot Las Vegas-style casino – the largest in the Caribbean region. A 700-room Grand Hyatt, a 300-room Mondrian, and the 200-room Rosewood Hotels & Resorts® complete the extraordinary accommodations at Baha Mar.
Amenities will include the 18-hole, 72-par championship Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course at Baha Mar, scheduled to open in February 2014, 185,000 square feet of combined state-of-the-art convention facilities featuring a curated collection of Bahamian art, as well as a 2,000-seat performing arts center, more than 30 restaurants, nightclubs and bars, two spas, including the 30,000-square-foot destination ESPA at Baha Mar, designer retail boutiques, a beachfront sanctuary with native Bahamian flora and fauna,14 distinctive pool experiences and a private island.
About Baha Mar
Scheduled for opening in late 2014, Baha Mar will boast a total of 2,200 hotel rooms, spread across four major hotel brands including Rosewood Hotels & Resorts®, Mondrian, a Morgans Hotel Group property, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, as well as the new, dazzling centerpiece of Baha Mar, The Baha Mar Casino & Hotel. Baha Mar's stunning, new 100,000 square-foot casino will be one of the most compelling and exciting gaming experiences in North America, comparable only to the best in Las Vegas. A total of 307 private, freehold residences are available for sale and located within each of the hotels, offering a lifestyle choice to suit all buyers. Baha Mar also will feature some of the most advanced and versatile convention facilities in The Bahamas, with a combined 200,000 square feet of space, portions of which also can double as an entertainment and sports venue. Other amenities will include 200,000 square feet of retail and entertainment experiences, combining upscale shopping boutiques with authentic Bahamian arts and crafts galleries, chef-branded restaurants and exciting nightclub and entertainment offerings.
More than 20 acres of beachfront experiences will transport guests to the natural habitat of The Bahamas. Pristine beaches with crystal clear waters are set along exciting pools, groves and coves where docile sea animals abound. Two unique spas, including one of the most complete spa experiences in the Caribbean -- ESPA at Baha Mar -- will provide the pinnacle of relaxation. The 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course at Baha Mar will be one of a select few top-tier Nicklaus courses in the world, bringing a new, true championship course to The Bahamas.
For more information, please visit www.bahamar.com
Baha Mar Resort
SOURCE Baha Mar